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Winter Salads

Winter is here. Time to snub the watery cucumbers in thick waxy skins and pale tomatoes that look like the ghosts of summer past.

What are some good seasonal things to top a green salad with?

Some salads I've made are along the obvious lines

- chopped persimmons, pomegranate seeds, pecans
- apples or pears with walnuts and some sort of cheese like cheddar, parmesan or smoked
- oranges, beets, blue cheese
- black beans, canned corn .. I'm not a snob about using canned items

Some interesting ideas from Chow

Chicory and Arugula Salad with Honey Vinaigrette

Chicory, Tangerine, and Pomegranate Salad

Roasted Delicata Squash Salad

I like the idea of that last salad alot with squash, pumpkin seeds, spinach and ricotta salata.

I'd like to maybe branch out a bit with mushrooms ... can I?

While I use exotic mushrooms in cooked dishes, with salads I stick pretty much to white and brown. What other mushrooms can be good?

What about using dried fruits in a salads? Any ideas there?

Anything else?

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  1. seems like you have a lot of great ideas already but recently i have added:
    cornbread croutons
    pumpkin seeds
    sunflower seeds
    avocado and bacon
    roasted potatoes

    1. Yes I don't know how I could add to your terrific list of suggestions for winter salads other than a few that I always seem to fall back on..
      TJ's dried cherries or golden raisins
      Pinon nuts and pepitas
      red and purple grapes when I can't get blackberries
      and this is the time of year that I like to make candied nuts to add to my salad with pears and blue cheese, using a bagy arugula and or fresh spinach.
      which reminds me I always love a classic spinach salad with a dressing made with hot bacon drippings and tart apple vinegar..with lots of hardboiled eggs, and cracked pepper..

      3 Replies
      1. re: chef chicklet

        cc- how do you do that dressing? YUM. YUM.

        1. re: foxy fairy

          Sorry to respond so late, I am recovering from the stomach flu. 6th day now. I'm still not too crazy about food yet, so I will post it in the next few days. If i recall it's pretty simple. But will get the exact recipe for you..

          1. re: chef chicklet

            I am unable to find my recipe, so going on memory here!
            Apple cider and Bacon drippings dressing
            1/2 cup veg oil or canola
            1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
            3 T hot bacon dressing
            1 small onion chopped very fine
            1/3 cup white wine or water
            1 clove garlic smooshed
            1 t sea salt
            1 t cracked pepper
            1/3 cup sugar
            2 T Lea Perrins
            1T ketchup
            Combine all ingredients in a blender except the egg
            Heat all the above in sauce pan add the egg after you've heated the dressing through. Once heated add the grated egg, mix all well, pour over the bacon & spinach salad.

      2. Hello,

        On the Mushroom front... I make a Watercress, Roasted Poblano & Sauteed Mushroom salad with Nogada dressing & sprinkled with Pomegranate Arils or dried cranberries... in other words a deconstructed, vegetarian Chile en Nogada

        I recently posted a Salpicon recipe... I really like it on a sunny winter day.

        Another one I recently did was a roasted Fennel & Corn Kernel salad over Butter Lettuce topped with Crema, Cotija & Piquin flecks

        Next week I plan to make an Avocado (now that we are reliably getting Michoacan fruit) & Romaine Salad with Oaxacan Style Black Bean Dressing (i.e. Avocado leaves, garlic etc.,)

        3 Replies
        1. re: Eat_Nopal

          Could I please have your recipe for Nogada dressing? Thanks Pam

          1. re: Pampatz

            Hi Pam... I start out with 2 handfuls of green walnuts or almonds, put them in a blender, ... add Crema (a nice tangy one) covering half of the nuts, add olive olive until the nuts are covered, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp white pepper, enough milk to blend... salt to taste.

            1. re: Eat_Nopal

              This sounds divine. I'll be trying it. Thanks.

        2. We had an arugula salad with fresh figs, toasted walnuts and ricotta salata on Christmas Eve - just dressed with a Fruttato olive oil and some sea salt.

          1. Any ideas for a salad to go with spaghetti bolognese which has no dairy (guest is lactose intolerant)?

            1. I love salads with rapini. The most simple version is steamed rapini, tossed with garlic-heavy dressing and chilled. You can add toasted nuts, dried fruit or olives, maybe some parmesan shavings.

              Other options: ginger dressing and water chestnuts; chili flakes and peanuts; citrus vinaigrette with pomegranate seeds.

              I also love fennel salads. You can do it as a slaw, or with cold roasted fennel.

              1. Our favorite winter salad is titled exactly that. I think the recipe originally came from Taste of Home magazine. It is romaine lettuce with diced pears and apples, a handful of cashews, handful of dried cranberries, shredded swiss cheese. Top with homemade poppy seed dressing. I always get asked for the recipe and it has gone over well at potluck suppers with people who don't like anything too strange.

                1. Mizuna is an excellent salad green to use in winter and is now fairly widely available.

                  1. Thanks for all the great recommendations

                    My one contribution is I made croutons out of leftover panettone which worked very well with salads that were topped with
                    - persimmon, pomegranite seeds and pecans
                    - apples and jack cheese

                    The lettuce was dressed with black current balsamic and olive oil so the sweet bread worked well with this combo.

                    1. Hey, I too love LOVE snazzy or surprising winter salads. I usually go for butter lettuce as my green, and then some of these:

                      *good Feta (a nice creamy French one) or blue cheese or ricotta salata
                      *toasted hazelnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, or pumpkin seeds
                      *grapefruit or blood orange segments, or a few raspberries or blackberries
                      *OR dried cherries, dried cranberries
                      *celery for crrr-unch, and/or red onion
                      *sometimes I toast walnuts spashed with tamari for a different flavor

                      Wilted spinach salad with red onion, toasted hazelnuts (and the hot toasting oil to wilt the greens), a little champagne vinegar, sometimes a few crumbles of feta

                      Recently I made and adored a refreshing pomegranate salsa/salad with cucumber, tomato, pomegranate seeds, mint, red onion and pomegranate molasses/lime dressing. It was almost like a salsa, but a perfect light side salad (I served with red lentil kofta, both recipes from Ana Sortun's Spice).

                      For dressings, I like a creamy shallot-herb vinaigrette. Dice the shallots and add the vinegar, a touch of salt, let sit for 15 mins, then whisk in olive oil and a little sour cream and fresh herbs. Perrrrfect.

                      I like toasty sesame oil dressings on winter salads, too.

                      1. I ran a health food lunch counter many moons ago and we had this fabulous "Super Salad" that I make very often today. what's really awesome about it is: 1) it last much longer then your typically salad so you can make a bunch 2) You can saute up a few handfuls in your favorite stir fry sauce (mine is liquid Braggs Amino), put it on top of a nice brown rice and your favorite grated cheese (awesome!!) 3) you can steam the mixture for a very healthy vegie side 4) and lastly top the salad with some favorite adds - like nuts, sunflower seeds, dollop of guacomole, shredded cheese, sauteed shrimp (yum, had that today), another protein, etc.

                        Here's the base of the salad- Shredded/sliced cabbage, shredded/sliced red cabbage (less amount then the white), broccoli (cut small), cauliflower (cut small), carrots (shaved slivers - I have a shooter master). I add mushrooms to my salad, not this mix, as they go bad too quickly. I love a sesame tahini dressing but it's nice to change it up each day.

                        1. Don't forget plain old Waldorf Salad (apples, celery, red grapes, optional walnuts) with any old jar mayonnaise. And while you're eating it, watch the old Fawlty Towers episode called "Waldorf Salad".

                          1. Tabbouli is a good salad for winter. Parsley is always available, and along with the green oinions and mint, it's refreshing, and the super chlorophyll green parsley just makes me feel great.

                            1. A friend of mine told me about a delicious sounding salad she recently made - warm red cabbage with walnuts and feta - will try to get the recipe.

                              1. A good winter "white" salad I like is endive, fennel, radish and celery dressed in olive oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper. Very refreshing!